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The Western Jurisdictional Conference is over. It is time to begin living into a new day. It is time for me to take off the WJC worship planner hat and to fully be your District Superintendent.

We begin our time together with changes that for some will confront their faith, and for others, confirm it. The decision by our Annual Conference to become a Reconciling Conference, and the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto move us into a day that many knew would arrive. The struggles present at General Conference are now part of our reality. What does our faith have to say to us? What will be our response?

The answers to those questions are not easy. They are not trite sayings that one repeats quickly in response to what challenges one’s beliefs. I take comfort in the fact that following the annual conference session our Bishop began to take steps to put into place a plan that will provide a holy place to have the conversations needed. As that plan is formalized we will share the information with you.

Bishop Bob’s thought-filled and prayerful guidance in this matter is something for which I am grateful. The questions still remain – what do we do now – what conversations do we have now?

We are the people of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church. What I believe with all of my heart is that we are a people who are passionate about the love of Christ. We are living incarnations of that love. For that reason, we are committed to embodying a love that holds on to one another, even when the dust clouds roll in and obscure our ability to see, even when the monsoon storms blow with such violence that the trees are toppled. We maintain the connection with one another, even when we do not always see things the same way.

In order to live that type of faith, let me share with you two scripture passages (below) that I value. They are from the book of James. In these passages we are reminded that there are two types of wisdom present in our world. One type of wisdom comes from God. The other does not.

As we cross this new threshold in our life as a community of faith, together, will you join me in asking for God’s wisdom. This prayer for wisdom will keep us from knee-jerk reactions. It will push us in the direction of where we need to go. And it will help us to honor one another in the process.

Print out James 3:17. Add to it your prayer for our church. Then together, we will move into this new day with love and grace and wisdom.

May God continue to guide us all.

Blessings – Rev. N. Susan Brims
Central East District Superintendent

James 1:5
5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.

James 3:13, 17 & 18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

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